TORONTO — Nick Foligno is expected to miss at least the next two Toronto Maple Leafs games with an upper-body injury, interrupting his adjustment to a new team with the playoffs just around the corner.
Foligno was injured during Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Montreal. It wasn’t clear exactly what sent him to the dressing room with three minutes left in the second period, but he grabbed uncomfortably at his left leg after stopping at the edge of Jake Allen’s crease before heading off.
“He’s just day to day. He won’t play tomorrow,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Wednesday. “I suspect he probably won’t play on Saturday either.”
Foligno has appeared in five games since being acquired from Columbus on April 11 for a first-round pick. The Leafs also sent a fourth-rounder to the Blue Jackets and a fourth-rounder to San Jose for retaining 75 per cent of Foligno’s remaining contract.
The 33-year-old winger had to serve a seven-day quarantine at his off-season home in Sudbury before officially joining the team. He had four assists in five games while playing on the top line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and was due to be tried in other roles down the stretch.
Still, Keefe doesn’t seem too worried about how the absence will affect his ability to mesh with new teammates. The Leafs have four regular-season games remaining and could open the playoffs as soon as May 18.
“I think in terms of his own game and how he’s feeling with our team and adjusting, I think he’s already passed that point [of being comfortable],” said Keefe. “I think we’re in a good place there. He’s very comfortable, his teammates are comfortable with him. Obviously I was looking to move things around and try him in some different spots in the lineup, that’s something that with him missing some time this week that’s going to impact my ability to do that…
“But his health is of course the most important thing right now and we’re just going to take that a day at a time and get him back to full health and get him up to speed as quick as we can.”
Foligno has been a ray of sunshine since arriving in Toronto.
The trade gave him the chance to play for the same organization as his father, Mike, once did while getting to chase a Stanley Cup — giving him an enthusiasm he hoped would rub off on new teammates.
“I’m just excited about the opportunity,” he said earlier this week. “When you know how fortunate you are to be in this position and have an opportunity to play with a great team and chase something great that can be infectious as well.
“So I’m just trying to do that for these guys and give them the brand of hockey that they expect.”
• Frederik Andersen participated in his fourth straight practice and will now join the AHL’s Marlies on an LTI conditioning loan. He’s expected to play half of Thursday afternoon’s game against Manitoba — his first action since March 19. “That’s just a good way for him to get himself back into it and then things will be assessed from there,” said Keefe.
• Zach Hyman and Riley Nash, both recovering from a knee sprain, participated in their first practice since getting injured. They were limited participants wearing red no-contact sweaters.
• Justin Holl returned wearing a full face shield after taking a puck in the face on Saturday night and missing Monday’s game.
• Adam Brooks was dropped to the taxi squad in favour of Stefan Noesen, who was acquired alongside Foligno at the trade deadline. Noesen has yet to appear in a game for the Leafs.
• Rasmus Sandin took drills as the quarterback of the top power-play unit with Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Auston Matthews and William Nylander.